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Mocomanto to be renovated, special permit granted by Southampton Village Zoning Board

People have been concerned of the environmental impact, but the Zoning Board approved a special permit

The historic home at 472 First Neck Lane in Southampton village that sits waterfront on Lake Agawam, known as Mocomanto and dubbed the “Jewel of Southampton Village” by Images of America, was approved for renovations and expansions by the Southampton Village Zoning Board earlier this week, reports 27east. The plan to renovate has been controversial among the local community since owner Ken Fox proposed his plans, which would expand Mocomanto on land that is close to the wetlands of Lake Agawam.

Fox purchased the home in 2012 for $10.7 million. It was originally built in the 1800s, when Mary Louise Holbrook Betts purchased four acres of land at the southern edge of what is now Lake Agawam for $900 and named the structure after one of the Shinnecock sachems.

The controversy has come from a couple different angles. First off, many people are upset that the beloved home won’t have the same appeal that it did in its original construction—especially considering it’s in the National Register Historic District of Southampton village. However, much of the controversy is coming from the fact that expansion and building could have an environmental impact on the closeby wetlands on Lake Agawam.

There was even an online petition hosted on Change.org. Over 1,000 people signed the petition.

Due to the location of Mocomanto—which is within the existing wetlands setback of Lake Agawam—if someone were to try to build anything new there, the plan would be denied. However, because the home has been grandfathered in as it was built long before the construction restrictions on wetlands were implemented, Fox has applied for a special exception. The lake already has been reported to have a dangerous ecology, and many are concerned that the expansion of the home will further damage the environment.

According to a representative, the new addition to the home is set back from the wetlands—but they’re also adding a wetlands buffer which averages 50 feet and will have a minimum width of 25 feet. Right now, there’s no buffer on the property.

According to the Wetland Special Permit, the buffer project is consistent with concepts of a plan, which includes “control of waterfowl populations by expanded buffers... removal of fertilizer dependent vegetation... removal of invasive species,” among other recommendations.

There would also be a new wastewater system that would be installed 218 feet back from the wetlands, replacing the current wastewater systems. One of the current wastewater systems is just 140 feet from the wetlands, so these would be further back on the property, away from Lake Agawam.

Most importantly, these plans would allegedly reduce nitrogen introduced into Lake Agawam.

What do you think of the Zoning Board’s decision?